Who shot JR Ewing? You will only know the significance of this question if you are nearing social security age. JR Ewing, for the unenlightened, was one of the main characters on the night time drama series, Dallas, which aired in the late seventies through the early eighties.
Watching Dallas was almost cult-like, sort of in the same vein, although not quite as over-the-top as those people who used to dress up and go to the Rocky Horror Picture Show every weekend. (Oh please, don’t tell me you don’t know about that!) Okay, you non-Baby Boomers, you may as well stop reading now, as you’ll never get the point of this blog. Anyway, JR Ewing (played by Larry Hagman) was the oldest son of oil mogul, Jock Ewing. For some reason the entire family—parents, grown children, their spouses and children—all lived together in a mansion on a sprawling cattle ranch in Dallas, even though they didn’t get along with each other. But therein lay the delicious angst which drove the soap opera-like show. JR was a ruthless cad, a scoundrel, a conniving scalawag whose soul purpose in life was to cheat and swindle everyone in his path, including his own wife and younger brother, Bobby, who was a goody-goody (which made it so easy for JR to take advantage of him). JR was one of those people you loved to hate, or hated to love, depending on your point of view. He was always up to something no good. But his charm, charisma, and utter smarts enabled him to get away with a lot.
So it was no wonder that someone finally had enough and attempted to take him out at the other end of a gun. But who? There were so many potential candidates! This cliff-hanger came at the end of my final year in vet school. Everyone in my circle of friends was on pins and needles waiting for the culprit to be revealed. But, alas. We had to wait through the entire summer, at the end of which most of us had gone our separate ways and started our new careers. So it wasn’t as if we could gather into our little groups and hold long, scintillating discussions about who shot JR while eating our peanut butter and jelly sandwiches (hey, we were poor students) during our twenty minute break from clinics. Still, who shot JR was always in the back of our minds. I remember writing a letter (yes a REAL handwritten letter. We did that back in the olden days) to my best friend saying how I anxiously anticipated watching the premiere of the new season of Dallas that night.
When the series finally returned in the fall, we had to wait through FOUR episodes of Dallas before the shooter was revealed. FOUR! Do you have any idea how frustrating that was? Every week we thought, maybe tonight, only to be strung along until the next episode.
Who shot JR was probably the most popular cliff-hanger of all time. According to WiKipedia, “The mystery and its catchphrase became a global phenomenon, with international oddsmakers setting odds for the culprit.” People everywhere had their theories. So ‘fess up. Do you know who shot JR? Don’t be embarrassed—shout out the answer with pride! If you don’t, I’ll reveal the answer in the next blog. Or you can just google it. Now-a-days everyone needs instant gratification!